Happy New Year: lots of norovirus in Seoul, South Korea

Norovirus isn’t just a North American concern – although surveillance and reporting elsewhere is sorta loose. In Jan. 2014 over 1000 Japanese kids were ill from prepared school meals with contamination eventually linked to bakery employees and bread.

According to Korea JoongAng Daily, 70 cases of norovirus required hospitalization at Severance Hospital in Seodaemun District, northwestern Seoul on New Years Eve.D0NA88_2426320b

Kim Mi-jin is the mother of a 7-year-old daughter and the 4-year-old son. But unlike most people, she spent New Year’s Day in the emergency room, while her son struggled with a high fever that had climbed beyond 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on the previous night.

“He was diagnosed with enteritis, caused by the norovirus,” she said. “I’m worried about my daughter because she’s also showing symptoms similar to my son: vomiting and high fever.”

Despite the bitterly cold weather in Seoul – it was minus 10 degrees Celsius on New Year’s Day – winter enteritis is in full swing, which has led a number of patients to the hospital.

According to statistics from Severance Hospital in Seodaemun District, northwestern Seoul, 70 patients rushed to the emergency room on New Year’s Eve, all exhibiting symptoms of enteritis, more commonly known as inflammation of the small intestine.

Among them were 20 adults and 50 children.

“Most of the patients were children or those in their 20s or 30s,” a hospital official overseeing the night shift said on Dec. 31.

This entry was posted in Norovirus and tagged , by Ben Chapman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.